Skip to Content

Spinal Muscular Atrophy

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Spinal Muscular Atrophy is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

Synonyms

  • SMA

Disorder Subdivisions

  • SMA type 0
  • SMA type 1
  • SMA type 2
  • SMA type 3
  • SMA type 4

General Discussion

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a group of inherited disorders characterized by a loss of certain nerve cells in the spinal cord called motor neurons or anterior horn cells. Motor neurons receive the nerve impulses transmitted from the brain to the spinal cord (brainstem) and, in turn, transmit the impulses to the muscle via the peripheral nerves. The loss of motor neurons leads to progressive muscle weakness and muscle wasting (atrophy) in muscles closest to the trunk of the body (proximal muscles) such as the shoulders, hips and back. These muscles are necessary for crawling, walking, sitting up and head control. The more severe types of SMA can affect muscles involved in feeding, swallowing and breathing.

SMA is divided into subtypes based on age of onset and maximum function achieved. SMA types 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 are inherited as autosomal recessive genetic disorders and are associated with abnormalities (mutations) in the SMN1 and SMA2 genes which are located on chromosome 5.

Resources

March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: (914)997-4488
Fax: (914)997-4763
Tel: (888)663-4637
Email: Askus@marchofdimes.com
Internet: http://www.marchofdimes.com

Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
925 Busse Road
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
Tel: (847)367-7620
Tel: (800)886-1762
Email: sma@fsma.org
Internet: http://www.fsma.org/

Muscular Dystrophy Association
3300 East Sunrise Drive
Tucson, AZ 85718-3208
USA
Tel: (520)529-2000
Fax: (520)529-5300
Tel: (800)572-1717
Email: mda@mdausa.org
Internet: http://www.mda.org/

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424
TDD: (301)468-5981
Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

Jennifer Trust for Spinal Muscular Atrophy
40 Cygnet Court
Timothy's Bridge Road
Stratford upon Avon
Warwickshire, CV37 9NW
United Kingdom
Tel: 4401789267520
Fax: 4401789268371
Tel: 8009753100
Email: office@jtsma.org.uk
Internet: http://www.jtsma.org.uk

New Horizons Un-Limited, Inc.
811 East Wisconsin Ave
P.O. Box 510034
Milwaukee, WI 53203
USA
Tel: (414)299-0124
Fax: (414)347-1977
Email: horizons@new-horizons.org
Internet: http://www.new-horizons.org

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223
Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

Madisons Foundation
PO Box 241956
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: (310)264-0826
Fax: (310)264-4766
Email: getinfo@madisonsfoundation.org
Internet: http://www.madisonsfoundation.org

Fight SMA/Spinal Muscular Atrophy
1807 Libbie Avenue
Suite 104
Richmond, VA 23226
Tel: (804)515-0080
Fax: (804)515-0080
Email: CarolineGibson@fightsma.com
Internet: http://www.fightsma.org

Claire Altman Heine Foundation, Inc.
1112 Montana Avenue, #372
Santa Monica, CA 90403
Tel: (310)260-3262
Fax: (310)393-7154
Email: deb@preventsma.org
Internet: http://www.clairealtmanheinefoundation.org

Children with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Ukraine
Gogolia Street 7
Kharkiv, 61057
Ukraine
Tel: 380503640673
Email: info@csma.org.ua
Internet: http://www.csma.org.ua

Spinal Muscular Atrophy Foundation
888 Seventh Avenue
Suite 400
New York, NY 10019
USA
Tel: (646)253-7100
Fax: (212)247-3079
Tel: (877)386-3762
Email: info@smafoundation.org
Internet: http://www.smafoundation.org

Child Neurology Foundation
201 Chicago Ave, #200
Minneapolis, MN 55415
USA
Tel: (952)641-6100
Fax: (952)881-6276
Tel: (877)263-5430
Email: jstone@childneurologyfoundation.org
Internet: http://www.childneurologyfoundation.org

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

Last Updated:  4/10/2012
Copyright  2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.